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Country: Chile, Language: Spanish, 102 mins

  • Director: Pablo Larrain
  • Writer: Guillermo Calderón; Alejandro Moreno
  • Producer: Eduardo Castro; Juan de Dios Larrain; Rocío Jadue; Cristian Echeverria

CGiii Comment

Every new Pablo Larraín film is a miracle of imagination, invention and insight into human behaviour. And Ema may be his most lyrical and poetic yet – a character study of a beguiling woman who is ruled by heart and impulse. In a vivid collage of scenes shot by Sergio Armstrong (The Club, Souvenir), with an expressive score from Nicolas Jaar, Larraín paints a picture of talented contemporary street/reggaeton dancer and teacher Ema. We learn of a recent trauma and her fiery relationship with her slightly older husband (Gael García Bernal), who is both a choreographer and her creative collaborator. Their recent adoption of a troubled child has gone badly, for which they are harshly judged. They, in turn, blame one another. Writing with Guillermo Calderón (Neruda) and Alejandro Moreno, Larraín’s film intersperses explosive, intoxicating scenes of dance within dramatic moments that are fractured in time. Through them, we get an indelible sense of Ema. Fragments of her past are revealed to us, but she is very much presented as a creature of this moment: wounded, fierce, loving and committed to righting wrongs, often through unconventional and occasionally dubious means. Her magnetism pulls people into her orbit and it’s a seductive place to be; at once tender, volatile, physical and fully alive.

Tricia Tuttle


Cast & Characters

Gael Garcia Bernal;
Santiago Cabrera;
Eduardo Paxeco;
Mariana Di Girolamo as Ema;
Catalina Saavedra;
Mariana Loyola;
Paula Luchsinger;
Giannina Fruttero;
Paola Giannini;
Josefina Fiebelkorn;
Antonia Giesen;
Susana Hidalgo;
Paula Hofmann

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